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and very determined in his decision that he understands that this is the right decision for the church. >> pill grms, my last general audience. like pope john paul, watches over his church. i wish all of his joy and gratitude. we have called to our renew trust in our lives and a life of the church. i'm personally grateful for his love and guidance in eight years since i accepted his call to serve as the successor of peter. i was deeply grateful for sustaining support and prayers from so many of you, not only in rome but also around the world.
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this is a decision that i have made after much prayers. i will continue to accompany the church with my prayers. and ask each of you to pray for me and for the new pope. faith and hope to god who continues to watch over our lives. his great affection, his love and care, which opens our hearts to the fullness of life. i part my blessings. thank you. >> the american flags are waving. many pilgrims there who have
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traveled from the united states. also a large ex-pat community there and students who studied there. you know many of those students you teach them at duquesne university. le met get your thoughts. >> there are -- one of the things about this -- two things come to my mind immediately, the one that's predominant, this pope of positive reinforcement, everywhere that he's gone, we're talking about this eight-year pontificate, he starts out with a message of positive reinforcement. he started to thank the cardinals and the collaborators. he thanked the people around him in the vatican wall and the people that we see and that we don't see. i think that's a very interesting invitation to all of us, an invitation to look at the good things within the vatican.
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a sense of charity to one another. chris, the central message of this -- of this address, was indeed love. >> also acknowledging that this has been, george, some times very difficult papacy, any papacy is hard, you wrote about this today, the idea that becoming pope is actually an impocket task, but he said that he faced choppy seas, head winds at times, your thoughts about his final address to the people. >> chris, like you, i was struck by how interestingly autobiography cally this last speech was. it was within a new testament framework. this pope treats the new testament not as if it were an ancient artifact as it was a
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template to live one's life. sometimes in difficult circumstances, he's asking all of us in the church and in particularly these cardinals, who now have an extremely, heavy burden, laid on them. to understand, like the gospel story of peter, walking on the water, across to the boat of jesus, peter walking from the boat to jesus, excuse me that you can do impossible things if you keep your eyes on the lord. once you start looking around, once you start looking at all of those waves, you start to sink. so, there was a message in here, a challenge, that we're all in the boat together. the boat may be rocking at some times. but to bury the metaphor, we're
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all on the way of the cross together. i think it was quite striking that the pope said there are different ways to bear the cross. he has clearly understood his decision as not an abandonment of that way of the cross but a new way to walk it. that, too, is a challenge to these men who now bear the awesome responsibility of finding a leader for 1.2 billion catholics and a missionary. >> the pope now speaking in german and just before that we heard the band, the german band that is so common at these audiences. we're also getting, liz, a good close-up of the fisherman's ring. tell us about that. >> well, the fisherman's ring is the ring that's give on the pope, made for the pope, which one is specific at the beginning of his pontificate.
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it was a visible sign in all of these processions, you'll see historically they're always very large. from a great distance, this binding, this marriage, commitment to the church, the leader of the church and as the holy father. by tomorrow evening, that ring will be one of the last things that pope benedict divests himself us as he leaves the papacy, that ring, and all of the ring before will be destroyed. >> destroyed using a silver papal hammer and there will be no ring until the conclave and the election of a new pope, it was very interesting that here in new york our cardinal dolan said that he and other cardinals will sing a psalm as they file into the sistine chapel. and is that something that's typical, liz, is that
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traditional, or is that unique to this conclave? >> i think in particular, these psalm of pent nance is part of the lenten a framework. but, also, it's part of the sistine chapel proper. indeed, as you look at the ceiling, the very last images the very last prophet, then you get to that resurrection of joan in the center. it's fitting for the time, it's fitting for the space and it's fitting for this particular occasion as well. >> let me bring ann thompson back in. you were saying earlier that the pope won't do what's traditional at many of these audiences which is to allow a number of faithful
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to kiss the ring and receive the blessing. he has decided at the end of this audience, he'll bless some religious articles that people have brought. >> i haven't heard that, chris. i do know once this public audience is finished, he'll meet privately with some head of states in attendance today. i wanted to add to what george and liz were talking about his address. this pope has been characterized as someone who's isolated. he said clearly today that he was not alone. the other thing that struck me is when he talked about, you know he's been criticized by some who retired, as coming down off the cross. he made it very clear that there are other ways to serve on the
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cross. he has found a way to do this. i listened to this. benedict is trying to dictate how his legacy and he wanted to make sure that the people of the church understand that he has not been alone and that he's found another way to serve god. >> ann makes a good point, george. it also struck me when he stated about coming down off the cross, very close personal aide, to pope john paul, had said some things that some people took as a criticism. the pope does not come off the cross. this decision was not one that was a good one. your thoughts about those comments that the pope made today. almost seemed to me that he was answering the critics? >> i think he was. no question about that. it was done subtly and tastefully, he was certainly making that point that ann just
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made. cardinal dolan, in a letter to the archdiocese of new york last week, before he came over for the conclave, addressed this point. he said holiness is not uniformity. there is not just one way to live a holy life. that's the message of these 120-some saints on top of the basilica. i think that's the proper way to understand the complementary of two decisions. john paul ii made a conscience decision to die in public. not to say look at me, look at me conforming myself to the passion and death and resurrection of jesus christ. benedict xvi has made a decision that the church needs something that he cannot give so he should
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get out of the way. he should retire into the background. that, as ann just indicated and liz mentioned and i mentioned and he mentioned, is another way to bear the cross of christ. and i think it was a very strikingly personal last statement to the church. i'm not leaving you. and thank you for not leaving me. >> we heard the loud applause there, the pope was delivering the message in spanish, the church has seen growth in latin america, seen growth in africa, leading to questions, father, about his success so, whether it could be someone who is from africa, from latin america, maybe even dare we say, north america. >> could well be. the church certainly has shifted, as you say, it's suffering in western europe, yet there are 61 cardinals from
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europe. the college of cardinals that will be voting. the church is exploding in latin america, africa and parts of asia. there are some viable candidates. so, i wouldn't be surprised if the church moved in that direction. and north america, you think of cardinal oulet from quebec, would certainly be a leading candidate. cardinal dolan, possibly. i think the cardinals will look around the world, sure, for a possible candidate. >> right now, they are looking up at the stage and the pope is going to speak in portuguese as he continues his final good-byes to the faithful, speaking in many different languages. there are preparations under way already, something that is, again, as we talked about the historic nature of what we're seeing and the difference from anything we have experienced before, in a situation, in all of our lifetimes when we were talking about a conclave, there was a funeral to plan.
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and so, the people who lived within the vatican were very much focused on honoring the pope who just died, we have a very different circumstance here. nevertheless, liz, they have to prepare the sistine chapel, do they not? >> oh, yes, they have to prepare quite a few things, as a matter of fact. in a certain sense, this last day will kind of open the gates to keep people busy with roles and jobs to focus on right now. for example, we'll have the necessity of preparing the rooms for the cardinals. we're going to have the preparation of the sistine chapel, they have to bring in the chairs and the stove. now, there's work to be done. they'll have a direction and job and something to do. to work towards. >> as i have been talking to people over the last couple of weeks, the one thing that i say
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that stops them in their tracks is something that you just said, they have to bring in the stove. and the idea that in this magnificent sistine chapel, they're bringing in a stove, obviously, the smoke has to come from somewhere. >> yes, as a matter of fact, i imagined the director of the vatican museums is pulling his hair out, smoke in the sistine chapel how are we going to perceive the paintings? the stove will have to be put in, linked up to the chimney, there's good, old-fashioned work to be done. >> voting cardinals at the time of the last conclave about what it means to be inside that magnificent sistine chapel, making this decision, looking at the paintings, looking at the
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judgment, having to walk up there and putting a ballot underneath the painting there, talk about the judgment, talk about what it's like inside that room for the upcoming conclave, liz? >> i'm going to overrun the pope's speech time. it's amazing time. the person who understood that chapel more than artist or h historian was pope john paul ii. he speaks about this beginning of the sistine chapel's genesis cycle by michelangelo and the visible endings of the world. and how the cardinals in the conclave are standing between those two spaces. the one thing that i would say, the most important element is that the cardinals realize in that space, that their job is to choose the man who will navigate
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the boat of peter, from the little stretch that he's given, but within the context of this beginning of time and the end of time, which they see in front of them. it's a space that calls one to its highest duties and greatness. >> to the left of the judgment is a door, and it leads to what's known, george, as the room of tears, and we know that the conclave remains secret, in fact, leaking anything about what happened inside the conclave is punishable by ex-communication. once a pope is elected and the smoke is white, which means there's a new pope, they get to go prayerfully into a room. pope benedict in his final hours of his papacy, what it must have been like for him, taking on
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this role at 78. when he was ready to return to germany. >> i once had a chance to visit the room of tears with my family and you can't help but think about the human emotions that have been experienced in that room. stunned men. frightened men. some perhaps satisfied. the room also includes vestment cases which have some very precious, very old renaissance capes that popes would wear in grand processions. when looking at those, i was reminded of a line in a novel "the devil's advocate." about life here in the vatican where he describes the papacy as a laden cape around the man's
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shoulder. and that's a burden that a man knows that he's taking on when he walks into that small room and it's a quite small space, tries on one of the three white caskets that's been prepared and that comes out to face the world. then comes out to be the face of the catholic church for the foreseeable faith. it takes strength and some kind of transparency of space. invite people into friendship with jesus christ. >> liz, has anyone come out of that room and told the assembled cardinals no? >> we're not supposed to know the answer to that question because the secrecy of conclave.
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plenty of people in that room who desperately wanted to say no. as far as we know, they come out and they say yes. one thing that strikes me about that room is how simple it is. it's a small, barren room. first, you see a very simple room, almost like a prison cell, understanding that this is space, this is -- this closing out, your personal life, your private desires into this cell. >> and it's a reminder that as pope benedict said today, the pope is not alone. that is certainly true on a spiritual level because he takes guidance from above and he has the advisers and staff at the vatican. but there is aloneness to it in the infallibility of the pope.
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and in being that soul leader, the one person in the world who's more visible than any other leader. >> the church is a communion, it's a family, the pope is the father of that family, we're together in that sense, very strong sense of crossing cultures, crossing national lines, the family of the church. at the same time, there's something very singular about the pope. he symbolizes the unity of the church, that singularity is important. you mentioned infallibility which is widely misunderstood. the pope knows the future. what it means simply is, when the pope speaks from his teaching chair, on a central matter of faith and morals, he cannot be in error. because he knows who jesus is, he's grounded in jesus. probably, it's interpreted too widely and that's how people
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tend to misunderstand it. >> does he continue to be infallible after tomorrow? >> no. it's not a personal karz ma. richard engel is in rome, too. you and i were in that last indoor audience on ash wednesday with the pope. i'm guessing a different feeling, almost a sense of shock, because normally for an audience you have to have a ticket, the people who happen to have tickets on ash wednesday, his first public appearance, didn't know they would be seeing a pope that had decided to step down. your sense of it, richard? >> if you remember that last audience, when this news was still breaking that the pope in fact was stepping down, there was a great deal of shock, there was a lot more emotion, now this
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news has settled in, people came here expecting a good-bye, and the mood is quite somber, it feels very much like a good-bye the pope has thanked the audience. he's thanked christians around the world, saying that they'll remain in his heart, he has never felt alone, but he took this brave decision with the church in mind. we haven't seen a lot of tears here. mostly it has been looks of concern. and looks of what will happen next? who will be the new pope to lead not only the church but the more than 1 billion catholics around the world? some lighter moments. some people here with guitars. who have been clapping their hands and shouting "we love benedict." >> richard, engel, there, in the crowd, and the crowd that is
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very enthusiastic, very grateful and has shown its appreciation with its cheers and shouts. a very difficult role that will be taken on now, george, talk a little bit about what faces the new pope, whoever it might be. >> well, certainly, chris, in terms of the church, the first thing that the new pope must do is, manifest himself as a transparent and charismatic pastor, missionary, someone who can both lead the people of the church as they now exist and invite others into friendship with jesus christ. >> george, let me ask you about that in a very specific way if i could, lot of talk about the contrast between pope john paul who was such an evangelist who
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traveled so much and this pope who was a quieter man, shyer personality and a more quiet sort of intellect, a writer, although certainly, pope john paul was to no slouch in that category, or is that going to be the priority of someone who's younger and vital and who can travel and who has that quality that we had with pope john paul ii? >> i think the cardinals are going to look and in my judgement should look for a man with real pastoral experience, a man who knows how to respond to secularism in some parts of the western world. but can do that in a positive way. by responding to criticism, by responding to unbelief, can invite people to think again. consider the possibility of
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christian faith. the new pope will have to demonstrate in my view, an ability to advance religious freedom for all people. religious freedom in full. for all. around the world. where there are many, many threats to the free expression of religious convictions. >> the priorities for lot of americans, they want someone who will address in an even more aggressive way the question of the cover-up in the sex abuse scandal, there's been this controversy over cardinal mahony and whether he should be a voting member of this conclave. he'll have to look at this report written by three of the older cardinals, what happened, how were these private papers of pope benedict leaked.
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the members of the voting conclave won't get to see what's in that report. what about the controversies and someone who can handle those in a very transparent way? >> yeah, i agree with george, the pope's primary role as a successor of peter . we speak about the priesthood having three dimensions, priest, prophet and king. john poweaul ii and pope benedi were very strong in the teaching dimension. increasingly the need is seen for a pope who has a strong governing dimension. the kingly side. everyone left, center and right seems to agree there's need for
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greater account lt in the curia. i think someone who can seize control and to exercise governance will be high priority. >> we're looking at pope benedict in his final hours and he will meet with a few of hea s s of state. then tomorrow, he'll get on a helicopter in the vatican gardens at the helipad there and he'll make the quick trip to castel gandolfo where he'll spend the next several months as they're readying his new apartment. liz, put this in historical context. >> i find something that benedict has been repeating since the beginning of lent that's reflected in the history of the church and the history of
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rome and the art and the architect of this city. he talked about jesus traveling through the desert. he's talked about a boat in choppy waters. today, in this incredible moving image, resting your hand on god as you move forward. a church that's supposed to be constantly in motion, constantly moving towards jesus christ and even though for a brief time he'll not be the leader. >> liz, george and father, thanks to all of you. thank for joining us special coverage of the pope's final good-bye. we'll have coverage all day on msnbc today and tomorrow. but coming up next -- "morning joe." stay tuned.
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Way Too Early
MSNBC February 27, 2013 2:30am-3:00am PST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Benedict 5, Jesus 3, John Paul 3, Rome 3, Latin America 3, Africa 3, Vatican 3, John Paul Ii 2, North America 2, Cardinal Dolan 2, Us 2, Pope John Paul 2, Cardinals 2, Duquesne University 1, Europe 1, Spanish 1, Papacy 1, Asia 1, Germany 1, Western Europe 1
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